Abe Caterson has been working in the food industry for over 20 years and been cooking professionally since 2011. He currently helps to manage the Volcano Union Inn, but in May he also started a new venture that had been on his mind for a while: A food preparation and delivery company called Power Foods.
“I moved to Amador County in 2002 after I graduated from high school in Arizona,” Caterson said. His stepfather had to move up to his area, so his stepsiblings did, too. “They invited me to come up to Pioneer, California, which I had no idea where that was at,” he added. “But I figured I’d give it a go, and I’ve been up here ever since.”
Making a Move
Part of what drove Caterson to create his own healthy foods business was his own weight-loss struggle. Recently, he started eating healthier and lost about 40 pounds. “I wanted to help myself and others with more readily available, nutritional, healthy, and fresh meals and meal prep,” he explained.
Caterson launched his business when he was furloughed from the Volcano Union Inn when public health restrictions required in-person dining to close. “It pushed me to invest what I did have into this company and this concept to try to generate any sort of income,” he said. “I had to do something. I couldn’t wait for something to happen.”
When his friend and co-worker Roylene Brown took over The Caterer’s Kitchen in spring 2020, he arranged with Brown to be one of the first two chefs to start working out of the facility in Jackson Creek Plaza in south Jackson.
Caterson’s clientele is varied. “I have younger people who are fresh out of high school, weightlifters, and kids who want more calories,” he said. There are also people who don’t have time to cook meals themselves, but one segment of that group stands out. “There are older, retired, and single men who live on their own and might not have time, knowledge, abilities to prepare some of these meals,” Caterson said.
Where to Get Power
You can view and order meals from Power Foods on its website. The site has pictures of each dish, and many of the photos let you expand the size of the photos so you can get a good look. “I wanted a menu that would reflect food I liked but would be approachable for the area, food that people are familiar with,” Caterson said.
He noted that all his food is fresh to order and the menu has been developed from his years of cooking and developing menus. “I really want to put my culinary twist and experience in these meals with great flavors, quality, and portions,” he added.
When you’re ready to buy, click the Buy Now button to open the Shopify website where you can order. All meals are between $10.00 and $12.00. Caterson said he arranges with customers for them to pick up their orders at The Caterer’s Kitchen every Thursday from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and delivery times are staggered so there is minimal contact. Orders must be placed by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesdays for availability the following Thursday.
Caterson has ambitious plans for Power Foods. “I would like it to turn into eventually not just a local thing, but online ordering to be able to ship out like a Freshly or Trifecta,” he said. “I really want to see this expand with shipping to all states.”
To do that, he first needs to make Power Foods a sustainable, full-time job, and Caterson thinks he’s in a good position—especially now. “I feel like having meals available is going to be needed through the pandemic when there isn’t dine-in service.”
What’s more, Caterson said, “It is getting to the point where I may need to bring a few people on. I do have a few people in mind who could help with marketing.”
That marketing includes getting out and talking with “foodies” and spreading the idea of healthy eating with no preparation by the customer. “What I wanted to see happen was not just to benefit and help younger people who were active and fit, but also individuals who need it,” Caterson said. “Power Foods is really for everybody.”
It also helps that he doesn’t have any direct competition here. The closest competitor he could find, he said, is in Folsom. But he’s also aware that other competing companies are growing in the valley, and that motivated him to get going on his business. “I want to get out ahead of the competitors and build a good clientele base,” he said, “before other people start figuring it out.”
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